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Drops Of Jupiter - Train

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Genre: Rock - Classic Rock / Artist: Train / Audio CD released 2001-08-06 at Columbia

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      22.11.2010 20:11
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      Recommended highly!

      In 1994 a Train came along. No, not the kind of train with wheels, a Train in the form of an American rock band, very soft rock, so soft infact that it can just about be classed as rock due to it's very commercial and mainstream sound and style. So, Train started their journey in San Francisco, California with passengers Patrick Monahan (lead vocals), Jimmy Stafford (guitar, vocals) and Scott Underwood (drums, percussion).

      Drops of Jupiter was released in March 2001 and quickly became a big hit. It was produced by Brendon O'Brien who had worked with high profile acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam so it's not that surprising that this album enjoyed massive success.
      I've owned this album for many years now and have listened to it over and over again, I find it hard to tire of it. As previously mentioned, the style of music here is very soft rock which makes for very easy listening. The album kicks off with a song called "She's on fire". A jolly, energetic track starting with an upbeat sounding guitair and a steady drum beat. Soon into the song the vocals come in. Monahan's voice, like the music is quite commercial sounding, but slightly more distinctive compared to the stream of other artists who began to churn out the same style of music around the same time. The song is quite consistent throughout with little change in tempo or style.

      Next up is "I wish you would". Again, another jolly, energetic number which is as easy to listen to as the first. This song seems to be slightly more multi-dimensional than the first. Less consistent with a beat and sound that does change from time to time throughout the song. To me this song has a strong country feel to it as do a lot of the tracks on the album.
      Ah, and now we have "Drops of Jupiter". This song was like cow pat in a field at the time, every radio station seemed to be banging it on every 10 minutes so there is a good chance of you, and even your nan knowing this one! There's no doubt about it, this song was HUGE and spent over a year in the charts. It also snagged two Grammy's for Best Rock Song and Best Arrangement. Compared to the first two tracks on the album, this definitely has more of a "rock" feel to it but this is about as "rocky" as the album gets. The song kicks off with a melodic piece of piano playing which soon launches in Monahan's vocals. His voice sounds stronger than usual on this track again with that same country quality. It's the drums (obviously) which helps to give this song it's rock injection, but even so, this song is also very melodic, with a strong presence of piano which at times during the song, is more prominent than any other instrument. This is one of the better songs on the album, and would have been one of my favourites if I hadn't overdosed on it in 2001.

      What have we got next? Ooooh yeah! "It's about you" is in my opinion, one of the best songs on the album. It begins with quite a simple drum beat and as the vocals begin, in comes the the guitar in equal measure, allowing the original drum beat to continue quite noticeably. A little further in, the guitar and drums are accompanied beautifully by gentle percussion (cheers Scott) and the song progressed until we reach the chorus which sees the song become much more melodic and with a slightly slower tempo. Again, this song has a strong country feel and actually reminds me of Texas, remember them? No, not the country, the band.
      On we go and next we will be making a well-needed stop (anyone need the toilet?) at "Hopeless". This is my favourite track from the album which provides me with 4 minutes and 31 seconds of musical bliss. A soft paced, melodic sound from the guitar opens the song. It is very emotionally melancholy and powerful. The vocals are soulful and also filled with emotion making this one of the "sad" songs, definitely not happy songs like the ones before it. And with lyrics like, "But you don't need my pictures on your wall,
      You say you need no one" and "I hopelessly, helplessly, wonder why" it's hardly surprising. The tone of the vocals really portray how he is feeling, and as the song title suggests, he feels pretty hopeless, not a nice way for anyone to feel.

      Dry your eyes folks and show a bit of "Respect". This song opens with a very strong catchy beat courtesy of a prominent guitar and a good old beat of those drums. Yes, as you might have guessed, we have a bit of rock on the menu again. Again, this song has a strong country vibe to it. It's probably one of my least favourite songs on the album, not because it isn't good, it is, it's just that once again this song was everywhere at the time and I eventually got a little sick of it. Also, another reason is that there are far better songs on the album for this one to be too far up my list.
      Well now, you're gonna need to get your tissues out again as we journey through emotion city again, just incase you didn't get a good enough look at it the first time around. "Let it roll" is the 7th track and begins with soft music and a drum beat which compliments the music very well. After the initial piece, the vocals start and the song takes a slighty more upbeat direction, I said slighty! Sorry to keep repeating myself but again this has very strong country elements. The song sounds quite sensual and describes to me the lonliness that is felt after losing someone special.

      Back in your seats! Now we're gonna make a quick stop at "Something More". Never been here before? Well met me show you around... This is again quite a slow paced song, melodic again and filled with emotion. Seemingly, he's managed to get a grip on his emotions since "Hopeless" and "Let it roll" as this song has chunks constructed from more upbeat material.
      "Whipping Boy" is another great track from the album and has made it into my top three. Another "sad" one which begins with an energetic explosion of guitar and drums but soon settles into what we have become accustomed to with the previous few tracks. The chorus is emotional and catchy. This song switches between soft and heavy, slow and fast, giving it depth.

      "Getaway" is very laid-back and flows seamlessly into quite a jolly chorus. This is actually my least favourite track on the album. To me, Monahan starts sounding like Will Young and a fan of his I am definitely not! In my opinion I could have done without this song even being on the album.
      And we're here! Look to your left and you will see the great "Mississippi". If you haven't had your fill of sad songs yet, well here's another one. Bringing the album to a close, the track starts with a soft drum beat and gentle guitar. The vocals are soft and harmonic blending in marvellously with the music. You know my top three songs, so this has to be number 4 for me.

      --Overall--
      Well I've been moaning a bit about the lack of "rock" haven't I? Well that's because I am mainly a fan of rock and metal music but by no means will I dismiss this album. Variety as they say, is the spice of life and I too like a change now and then. Whatever your musical taste, this is an album that offers something to everyone. It's not the run of the mill type of tripe that keeps appearing the the charts, it's not cheesy pop music or the latest pile of vomit from the next boy band you have never even heard of. Instead, this is a credible album and is well worth a slot on your cd shelf.

      I hope you have enjoyed your journey, now get off my TRAIN!

      **Also on Ciao under the same username**

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        28.06.2009 20:01
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        A must hear

        Like many in the UK, first heard of Train from their gorgeous single, Drops of Jupiter, which was shortly followed by the album of the same name. This was all the way back in 2001, but still it's one of my most listened to albums.

        For those of you unfamiliar with them, Train are a band formed in California and fronted by the gravelly voiced Pat Monahan. Their sound is distinctive as is the voice and four albums on, with multi platinum sales worldwide, I can't be the only one who can't get enough of them. Funnily enough though, I still get many blank looks when I mention them to people here.

        The first time I heard the title track from 'Drops of Jupiter', the bands second album, I wanted to hear more. You hear hundreds of songs on the radio some them you don't know and don't care who it is, others you are sick to death of, and then occasionally there's on that makes you stop what your doing and think 'what's that'? This is one of those records. They used to play is a lot on Virgin Radio (now absolute) but I rarely heard it anywhere else.

        'Drops of Jupiter' is the third track on this album. A beautiful soft rock song which real anthemic qualities. Monahan sings like he means every word, and every word the listener hears and understands even though the structure of the verses makes for very long lines and an unusual pattern. An unusual and powerful song with incredible melodies and lyrics. Much as I love the rest of this album and indeed Train's entire catalogue, I still don't think they produced anything as good as this song before or since. Definitely their finest hour.

        This isn't to say the rest of their material is second rate my any means. This album has 11 brilliant tracks, my personal favourites being-

        'She's On Fire' - An upbeat opener, catchy and fun.
        'I Wish You Would' - Sandwiched between 'She's On Fire' and 'Drops of Jupiter' this could be a skipper, but it holds it's own.
        'Something More' - Released as a single, the lyrics aren't as strong as some other songs on the album but the vocals are excellent as always.
        'Mississippi' - A slow and moving note to end the album on. I love this track. A real chill out.

        Overall, I thoroughly recommend this album, probably the best starting point for getting into Train, and 'Drops of Jupiter' is a song that should be on everyone's ipod.

        To hear more about the band visit www.trainline.com. Just been for a visit and apparently the band are in London recording their new album. Can hardly wait.

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          07.12.2002 00:42
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          Train are a group that I first became familiar with after watching an award show on MTV last year, and then hearing a lot about them in some of the music publications I read. They seemed to be nominated for many awards, albeit for the same song, and I liked the clips that I heard from them, so I decided to buy the album. I have now had it for a year, and it is an album I think you should all be aware of, hence I am now reviewing it for you all, in the hope that you will want to find out more about this band and their music. This is the second album from the American group, and on it's release in America promptly sold over 1 million copies, which is no mean feat. They remind me a lot of Matchbox Twenty in their style, and also in the way they have a vocalist with a very distinct style, who is 100% passionate about the words that he sings. They are certainly not pop, and if I had to pigeonhole them then it would be rock with a more mellow undertone than REM or even Bon Jovi in the days when they were not so commercialised. Formed in San Francisco in 1994, the group are lead singer Pat Monahan, guitarist Pat Hodgkiss, guitarist Jimmy Stafford, bass player Charlie Coin and drummer Scott Underwood, and it was not until 1999, that they became the 'overnight success' we see so much these days, which is so laughable when they had been working at it for so long. Their debut album was a runaway success, and for a while they were the darlings of the music media, and when they released this album, they were nominated for many awards, but since then seem to have been forgotten about. Opener 'She's On Fire' has a real country feel, which was a surprise as I was expecting something a touch rockier, but it is still a great track to start with, as the strong guitars and drums make it upbeat enough to make you wonder what is to follow. 'I Wish You Would' is much mellower and is a style that the band carry off very well, and t
          he new addition of some bongo playing works very well, especially in a more country influenced song, which previously I would have thought was a recipe for disaster, but it actually allows the vocals to really shine through, where a stronger sound may have overpowered them, and that would be a travesty. The third track which is also the title track, is the track which first made me take notice of the band. There are some songs that when you listen to them, you just know from the opening bar that it is different, better than the majority of songs that you are likely to listen to, and this is one of those songs. The vocals are first class, and the addition of strings, especially violins in the arrangement just work so perfectly, and for once it is the music and not the lyrics which have made a song for me, although I do like the lyrics here too, as they are pure poetry. This is the epicentre of the album, and although you could be forgiven for feeling that the album deteriorates from here, you would be wrong as it is just impossible for any other track to meet the standard set here. 'It's About You' is one of the more uptempo tracks on what is a pretty mellow album, and it works very well. 'Hopeless' is my second favourite track on the album. The vocals and the lyrics are so emotional and portray so much desire it is hard not to get sucked into the moment. It is a simple song, with a simple musical accompaniment to the acoustic style vocals, but the lyrics are very clever, and make you listen closely then really think hard about what they mean, and when you do it makes you love the song even more! 'Respect' reminds me of the group Texas, and I think it is purely because of the strong drums. This track featured on the TV programme 'Dawson's Creek', so as to be expected it has a hook in the form of a catchy chorus which was played over and over again on the show. 'Let It Roll' is another track wh
          ich always stops me doing what I am doing and just enjoy the moment whilst listening to it. It is a song about the end of a relationship, and it must be based on real life experiences as the words make so many images come alive in my mind. 'Something More' has orchestral overtones to begin with and then the tempo changes and it is lead by a choppy piano arrangement. 'Whipping Boy' is probably the hardest track on the album, and it certainly has more attitude than the rest put together. The verse promises much, and then delivers with a very strong chorus, which is spat out by Pat, and portrays a lot of frustration that he feels at being used as a scapegoat, especially in the very very catchy chorus, where Pat rants at his unnamed tormentor. 'Getaway' has a jazz rock influence, and at times I find it reminds me of Incubus, and this is the track I wished they had released in this country after 'Drops Of Jupiter' as I am sure it would have been well received, as it is quite like many songs which have done well lately from many other British artists, such as Coldplay and Travis. This album may take a couple of listens to really appreciate it, but when you peel back the various layers and musical styles, you will be pleased with what you find underneath, and there are certainly no fillers here. The tracks here convey many emotions, but the overiding message is really positive. It is the perfect album to sit back and chill out to and wind down after a stressful day. Sublime is the word I am looking for, and I need say no more, other than buy this now, it will be a welcome addition to your CD collection, as it is a refreshing change to the overload of manufactured artists that are around nowadays. I have heard them compared to anyone from REM to Matchbox Twenty which I can agree with to a point, but The Counting Crows....oh no, I am not having that! I still have not bought their debut album, but if it is h
          alf as good as this I will be pleased if it is in my stocking come 25th December!

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            03.02.2002 03:01
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            Train are a band very unlike any other I have had experience of. They not only have a unique sound but also are a very unique band. They are in a sense, very American, some find this a problem, others like me don't. Even the Americans say that they sound American. What is American? I'd say that it was a mix of the Counting Crows and Matchbox 20 although they list their influences as Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. Formed in San Francisco in 1994, Train had a few early teething problems. The biggest of these what that three of the band members were lead singers in previous bands and their early tracks were likened to the eagles because of this. This was solved in a very democratic way when Pat was elected as singer after making an arse of himself in a bar. The band decided that as he was so drunk and was dancing on the tables he would be the logical choice to be the singer. Their sound is a kind of soft rock that I hadn?t come across before other than as filler tracks for bands such as Lifehouse or in the very most distant way Puddle of Mudd. They have a polished but passionate feel to them, which gives the lyrics a very believable quality and leads to a well rounded and easy to listen to album. The lyrics themselves are excellently written and their meanings come across well with lines such as "I hopelessly, helplessly wonder why, everything I change around me. I tell it to your face but you lost your face along the way" giving the well-written tunes excellent depth that this kind of alt. rock often lacks. Their newest album "Drops of Jupiter" is an excellent mix of upbeat soft rock and acoustic ballads, which is easy on the ear and still able to be looked at in more depth. The songs on the album when read aloud have a "Kelly Jones" (stereophonics) feel to them as they are in truth stories about people that they know or have met along the way. All of this really helps to make an excellent alb
            um loved by many and hated by few. The album starts with the fast paced and loud "she's on fire" which gets the ball rolling very well. The first track on an album is often poorly chosen but I have always thought of the first track as being very important as it sets the mood for the LP. "She's on fire doesn?t disappoint with an excellent mix of guitars and drums that starts the album with a bang. An excellent track to start off with. Next up is "I wish you would". This is a song which slows everything down a bit and the first thing that hits you is the quality of Pat Monahan?s voice which is shown off brilliantly by this second track. Armed with a catchy but rousing chorus and delicate and meaningful verses the track leads you nicely on through the album into their biggest success and title track; "Drops of Jupiter" "Drops of Jupiter" is a fantastic choice of first single for a band just starting to get 'huge' all over the world. The cleverly written lyrics contribute even more the bands patriotic style with mentions for both KFC and Starbucks products and an excellent bridge section that comes at the end of the second chorus. With lines such as "can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance, five hour phone conversation" the song never loses its unique feel and mad lyrical content only ever matched by the Bare-naked Ladies with their ridiculously long "one week". The tempo is back up again after the lull of "I wish you would" and the tune is great, one of the best tunes on the album and an excellent single. Track four takes the shape of "Its about you". Starting off with a very ethnic drumbeat the tune builds brilliantly into the rock tune, which it is. The vocal quality is again very high with a brilliant bridge section that shows the very raw and emotional quality of Monahan?s voice. A track that is so much more than ju
            st a filler on an album where every track is a highlight. My favourite is up next and that?s "Hopeless". This rings true for me and really means something to me. An acoustic start to a tune which sounds fantastic live builds slowly into a brilliant ballad, which has a real meaning to me. Lines such as "I hopelessly, helplessly wonder why, everything I change around me. I tell it to your face but you lost your face along the way" are very clever yet easy to understand and help to create a song which not only entertains but provokes thought as well. Next in line is "Respect" another track with an unbelievably catchy chorus that really makes you want to sing along. The lines "there's something that you said that just keeps ringing in my ears" are a true expression of my love for the lyrics in this album, which really provoke thought and enjoyment. A brilliant track for driving along to - but make sure you don?t get caught singing in the queue for the traffic lights! "Let it roll" signals yet another change of pace for Train who seem to slow a little in this track which is a moving tale of separation of a couple. The lyrics are again of an excellent standard with gems such as "Tried to write a letter, To tell you how I feel, But all I kept on writing, Was slipping on the tears from the day, When I was young and brave, Now all these hotel lobbies are filled with what?s to me" "Something more" is the next track on this album. With strong piano playing all the way through the track, this emotionally charged tune really keeps the back end of the album afloat and gives across a strong feeling of longing. Definitely worth a listen just for the brilliant lyrics such as "I just opened up my eyes, And let the world come climbing in, It?s all better now, things are gonna work somehow, If I just sleep another hour". Not just a filler track and definitely one
            of my personal favourites. "Whipping boy" is an excellent track written and played brilliantly with another catchy chorus that will be stuck in your head for hours and hours. Followed up by "getaway" my favourite chilout tune at the moment. With a sound almost moving towards an American Coldplay this track really does carry meaning in its words which are as always carefully selected and meaningful with examples such as " If I could ride this slide into forever, What would I give to getaway, That pain that stayed, Seemed like forever, What would you give to getaway?" Finally "Mississippi" rounds off an excellent album with a relaxed and mellow tune, which proves to be one of the better tunes on the album. I hate to keep quoting lyrics but I'm going to continue doing at as I feel that merely describing them to you would not be respectful to the artist. I use the word artist deliberately as the lyrics through the album are consistently of an excellent quality. "Mississippi" is again very lyrically strong with lines such as "They call her Mississippi, But she don?t flow to me, Spends her light on the Bayou, But she don?t come to see, She?s the one that makes my dreams, they call her Mississippi, But she don?t flow to me. All in all an excellent album well worth a listen over and over again and currently sitting at the top of my play list. Suitable for all with no offensive lyrics and all meaning expressed cleverly this is a rock album of absolute pure quality. Please buy this; it could change your life. Pat Monahan: Vocals, Trumpet, Sax, Vibes, and Percussion Jimmy Stafford: Guitars, Mandolin, and Vocals Rob Hotchkiss: Guitars, Bass, Harmonica, and Vocals Scott Underwood: Drums, Keyboards, Programming, and Percussion Charlie Colin: Bass, Guitar, and Vocals

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              30.11.2001 00:01
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              I first came across Train whilst round a friends house, we were flicking through the music channels when we suddenly saw this bloke prancing around the stage in leather trousers. We carried on listening and I soon realised that I LOVED THAT SONG! The song in question was Drops Of Jupiter and it was soon to become my favourite! A few weeks later I went to America and seeing Trains latest album, I decided to buy it to impress everyone back home (unfortunatly, while I was on holiday the album was released over here!). When I returned home I couldnt stop playing it. This album is brilliant. From the opening track "She's On Fire" to the mellow "Mississippi" to finish. I dont really know how to classify this band as they dont really seem to fit into any category. This album is quite mellow although there are some exceptions such as "Something More" which is their new single. All I can say it that this album is a must. All my friends have borrowed it from me because they loved it so much and I just have to say that Im the proud owner of a pair of Train tickets for January and Im so excited!!!!!

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                05.10.2001 21:56
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                Drops of Jupiter is the type of album that you see only once in a while from a group. Especially as a sophomore album. The first time I heard the title track, it reminded me a bit of Train's first big hit, "Meet Virginia". I thought, "oh no, more meet virginia". But once I listen to the entire album, I saw there was so much more to Train. Tha albums starts off with She's On Fire, which has a soft tone to it. The lyrics seem to emphasis a bit of a love theme to it, and after a first listen, they get catchy. The chorus is a little repetitive, musically, speaking, but still effective and memorable!!!! A good Song! Next, I Wish You Would has a much more country feel to it, with traces of the harmonica in it. The lyrics are powerful, touching on feelings of frustration and longing. "Sleepless nights and endless days And all I do is promise to change my ways" Drops of Jupiter takes a very different turn, with an upbeat acoustic sound to it. The lyrics are as powerful as the sound, and they fit together nicely. The song sets the mood of the sort of mixed up feelings among love and friendship, that is present in the WB's Dawson's Creek, where I first heard the song. It sets the tone for a lost love, and anticipating the return of that love. "Tell me did you sail across the sun Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded And that heaven is overrated Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star One without a permanent scar And did you miss me while you were looking at yourself out there" It's About You brings us back to a bit of that country tone again... but this time there?s a bit of an alternative feel to it. The softer tone, suits the chosen lyrics well, which give us the feel of wanting someone to forget all those stereotypes and so called history and to just take a chance. N
                ext we have Hopeless, which has a soft, almost depressing tone, which suit the theme of the song. The lyrics suggest it's about someone who's shut everyone out of their life, and feel as though they're alone and need no one around them. "Hopeless" is also something a little different. It's melody is calming and refreshing. It is a standout. Beautiful lyrics with deep feeling make it one of my favorites. Respect is more alternative like, yet with the same depressing feeling, but with a bit more aggression, almost like anger. Let It Roll sets a country pop like feel. The lyrics also suggest a bit of a depressing mood, but not as much as the other tracks. The song expresses mistakes, and wishing you were able to turn back time. Something More has more of a soft alternative feel to it, almost giving a sort of creepy feeling with the tone and lyrics and how the come together. The song gives the impression of being stuck in a place we can't be anymore, and needing something else that what we have, or who we have. "Something More" starts with really great keyboards and slide guitar. It's VERY GOOD song! Whipping Boy has a more country/alternative tone to it, as it talks of feelings of wanting to live in the here and now, and not worry about the after fact. Getaway, is track with a little bit of a jazz and beatles influence. It's interesting to hear something like this in today's pop music scene. The vocals are great. Almost every song has somewhat of a different feel to it. It almost sounds like a different person is singing each track. It talks about knowing that you should leave and get out of where you are...to get away, but begging for someone to hold on to you. "I know this is how I could be over you You know this is not another waste of time All this holding on can?t be wrong Just come back to me and I am not alone" T
                he album's final track, Mississippi starts off on a soft alternative note, as the lyrics flow through the song, with words of lust and love for someone who just doesn't take notice. "She?s the one that makes my dreams They call her Mississippi But she don?t flow to me" Overall, I'd say this is a great pop/rock album. If you enjoyed Train's first album, I'm sure this will not let you down. If you didn't like Train's first album, or even hated the single Drops of Jupiter, there is so much more to appreciate on this album. Track List: 1. She's On Fire 2. I Wish You Would 3. Drops Of Jupiter 4. It's About You 5. Hopeless 6. Respect 7. Let It Roll 8. Something More 9. Whipping Boy 10. Getaway 11. Mississippi

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                  05.10.2001 00:33
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                    14.09.2001 02:46
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                    Drops of Jupiter is already a platinum seller in the US, driven in the main, by the piano driven title track, a top ten hit in the US.The song, an album highlight, suggests the lyrical weavings of Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, coupled with a similarity of the Crows musical styling, but with an element of soul. Intial listenings will yield the sonic delights of "Hopeless", "Let It Roll" and "Whipping Boy", a trio of instantly memorable and consuming tracks. "Hopeless" is a slow acoustic driven tale of desperation, with the rhythm section providing a faint suggestion of Oasis' "Wonderwall", and the vocals of Pat Monahan pefectly suited to this type of track. Full harmonies drive the track to conclusion, and get you reaching for your acoustic to get those chords worked out! "Let it roll"'s dreamy start develops into an almost "countryish" composition, understated and tuneful,with the melody excentuated by a drifting slide guitar line. "Whipping boy" provides a strong electric guitar input to the album. It utilises the contrast of a loud beginning and quiet verses that in turn lead to a forceful and memorable chorus. Fans of Hootie and the Blowfish will buy instinctively, and will appreciate the more diversified content on offer. In general, Train offer acoustic /electric guitar compositions with a twisting lyrical content and a melodic sensibility supplying a commercial edge of Americana to the world.

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                      29.08.2001 18:37
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                      A great new album by Train. "AOR" Adult/American Orientated Rock. I first heard the song "Drops of Jupiter" on Radio 2 about a month back, and thought it was cool but didn't take much notice. Then last week I was in Italy on holiday and the only channel I could understand was MTV. They must have played the song at least 3/4 a day and it really grew on me. I wasn't sure about buying the album. The trouble with these kind of groups is that they can bring out a stunning single now and again but that's it. The albums tend to be average pop/rock fodder with nothing particular to shout about. In particular I'm thinking about groups like "Matchbox 20" and "Hooty and the Blowfish" (Although Cracked Rear View is a surperb album from start to finish). However, I spotted the Train album in HMV for just £12.99 and thought I'd give it a go. I'm glad I did. There are a few average tracks, admittedly, but generally this is above average. "Drops of Jupiter" is the stand out track, but "Mississippi" is fantastic as well. In all the album is atmospheric with some great riffs and very catchy tunes. It's definately one to slap in the carand take off on a sunny day with the roof down. Pure west coast American rock.

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                        13.08.2001 05:37
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                        “The new REM?” Oh God here we go again, despite legions of disappointments from those who have been given the aforementioned journalistic billing I’m still a sucker for that phrase. So it was that I found myself drawn to this, American rockers Train, second album. Pulled in by the seductive flyer single and title track, I duly purchased this album, who’s cover proudly boasts to have sold over a million copies in the States. Well who am I to argue with over a million Americans? Ho and further more hum. Well as you’ve probably gathered by the rating, I am going to argue with our friends over the Atlantic. However, firstly I’m going to deal with that journalistic misnomer I mentioned before. You see Train don’t really sound like REM at all. Yes singer Pat Monahan does have more the ghost of Monsieur Stipe around his vocals but the similarities end there I’m afraid. There’s little aching melancholy in Train’s work, few interesting melodic diversions, even little of the crunchy twelve string sound of REM’s mid period work. Train infact are firmly in the vein of a large number of American bands who probably never will make much of a splash over here. Think the Dave Matthews Band without the self indulgent side, think Matchbox 20 without the sparkle, Semisonic without the knowing pop suss or Vertical Horizon without the class. There’s a big sprinkling of county Americana here, a slight dose of ‘These Days’ era Bon Jovi there. They rock steadily, never threatening to over turn the boat. It will come as no surprise to hear they’ve already has a song featured on the Dawon’s Creek soundtrack, although sadly they fall into the hoary old rockers mould rather then the attractive female fronted pop variant. Now, those who have read my top ten singles op may have noticed the big hole in this so far. You see I included one of Train’s singles in tha
                        t list, it was infact the title track of this album You see this is what has made this album such a crushing disappointment. Train occasionally during the course of this album reveal they are capable of far more then the trite rock they are churning. Their work has frustrating hints of brilliance, although only ‘Drops of Jupiter’ with its jaw dropping string section and one or two other tracks ever reveal their true potential. Far too often they take the easy option, the non descript chorus, the dull arrangement, just the heart breakingly average in general really. So who are Train? Well until recently they were just another unheard of band randomly trawling their homeland, playing gig after gig attempting to get someone to listen. The band led by singer Pat Monahon and lead guitarist Rob Hotchkiss have been together since 1994 but success seemed always to be a frustrating way off. Their big break came in 1999 with one of their tracks being placed on an Aware Record compilation, the same label who launched the career of Matchbox Twenty. That song ‘Meet Virginia’ helped by some heavy backing from VH1 became a hit single, to which the band replied with touring lots more which in turn lead to their debut self titled album selling a very large number of copies. Following this success, the band headed back to the studio to record this follow up, from which the first single (the aforementioned ‘Drops of Jupiter’) fell just short of the stateside number one spot and has recently gone top ten over here. So to the album itself. My first clue that Train’s second album wasn’t going to be the masterpiece I’d expected came from the opening notes of first track ‘She’s On Fire’. The guitar line has the distinct air of Nashville by numbers, whilst Monahan’s vocals sound distinctly unremarkable, kind of any contemporary band US style. The chorus which kicks in quickly is
                        equally unimpressive, failing to raise the game and built from an almost identical melodic conceit as the verse, whilst consisting of the same line repeated a number of time. The lyrics are equally snoozesome “Well this is just between so between us lets get high.” As the song continues, the odd hint of interest raises up: the background organ reminds of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ era Dylan and adds some organic fluidity to the track, whilst the raw middle eight with some layered harmonies sounds quite fine. Unfortunately the track soon descends back to mediocrity with a tedious Eagles aping guitar solo. The slight hint of scratching on the final verse adds a touch of modernity but it’s not enough to save the track from choking on its lame lack of ambition. Second track, ‘I Wish You Would’ has a more promising beginning. A blast of Dylanesque harmonica and a tight line of acoustic guitar introduces the track and Monahan manages to prove he has more then one type of vocal delivery, all within the first thirty seconds or so. Sadly the song loses its nerve on the chorus, opting for a descending country rock refrain which ruins all the good work which preceded it by being so blatantly tedious. Things get even worse during the “doo doo do” bridge. Even a neat little middle eight with a more invigorating melody and some tasty crashing guitar charges fails to save the day as it is quickly swamped by a repeat of the chorus. This is little more then the sound of middle America, it’s as if the Eagles have been reborn with even less ideas then they demonstrated in the 70s. Therefore it’s quite a shock when the title track starts up and the listener is suddenly reminded why they bought this album. Those lovely if slightly familiar sounding piano chords, Monahan’s voice a honeyed croak he has previously refused to show are manna to the starved audience. I’m still in awe of th
                        is song, the clever build up with the string section under tight restraint yet revealing the central hook beautifully. The way the song transforms itself as the strings let rip on the second refrain and the way things just get more beautiful and epic as the track continues. The lyrics are still trite rubbish of course, but this is quickly pushed into irrelevance as the song seduces you with its delightful liquid guitar solo, soaring choral hooks and ‘Hey Jude’ style “nanna” climax. The sheer wonder the song provokes in you however, is why can’t Train reproduce this kind of thing over the course of the album? The only other hint of this delectable over blown style is on ‘Something More’ which opens with an interesting, almost classical sounding piece of orchestral wonder. This quickly vanishes however, to be replaced with a pounding honkey-tonk piano which reminds of ‘Abbey Road’/ ‘Let It Be’ era Beatles. The strings add subtle embellishment to one of Monahan’s best vocal performances, aided and abetted by controlled slide guitar and the rhythmic piano. All this builds to one of the albums finest chorus’, which makes a gradual rise during the bridge before soaring into full voice in an epic swooping refrain, with Monahan’s vocals an aching lament and the orchestral swells filling out the sound beautifully. The lyrics for once, compliment the music well, hardly profound but fitting the songs simple sentiments perfectly “All the more you want / All the more you need / All the while I want something more.” The dazzling middle eight takes the orchestration right down to ground level, before sweeping back up again for the sparkling climax. The question raised by these two tracks however, is if Train are capable of this kind of genius, why so much filler? Nevertheless it is filler that is the dominating mood of this album. Despite the break beats on
                        ‘It’s About You’, the melody and performance are firmly once again in the traditional mould. The song abandons any attempt at modernity by the acoustic and distinctly familiar sounding bridge before the usual attempt at a rousing chorus. There’s nothing terribly wrong with the track as such, but somehow its inoffesiveness and refusal to push the envelope even slightly manages to offend. ‘Respect’ is even more tedious, a blatant copy of the Matchbox Twenty sound it only manages to prove why that band can be equally tedious to listen to. It lacks the pathos and power of that band’s best material, instead displaying the kind of workman like aptitude which makes them such a tiresome artist to over the course of an entire album. ‘Hopeless’ is a rare moment of restraint. Largely acoustic with an intriguing little melody, the song breaks the albums pervading mood. Yet this air of contemplation is completely swept away by another massive chorus, which whilst featuring quite a sweet little hook, ill fits the tracks attempt at quiet resignation. ‘Let It Roll’ which follows has a more mellow feel and an interesting ‘Tubular Bells’ note to the opening guitar sound. Sadly the song takes more the a snatch of the melody from the New Radicals far superior ‘In Need of a Miracle’ and the pervading mood from a slowed down version of the Eagles ‘Take It Easy’. Unfortunately, the country rock sound has never sounded more boring. Those who drop off during the course of this song will be forgiven. Penultimate track ‘Get Away’ equally never seems to make it out of first gear. The swooning waltz format it adopts shows potential, but the song fails to develop, instead eking out the same familiar sounding melody. Monahan meanwhile seems to abandon his Stipeian vocals for his most conscious copying of Rob Thomas’ vocal style yet. However, even
                        in Matchbox Twenty’s weakest moment they have never sunk to this kind of depths. This is not a song, merely a melodic fragment being pushed way beyond any small scale pretensions it may have entertained. ‘Whipping Boy’ does hide another hint of potential. This in stark contrast to the rest of the album, is a dark and belligerent sounding track. The guitar sound is full of menace and Monahan’s vocals show a rare departure from his usual good humour. The chorus too is more yelled then sung, raising with it the ghost of Bon Jovi but in a particularly bad mood. However, despite the novelty of the song’s style and the spiralling harmonies and guitar on the superb middle eight the song lacks real attitude or any lasting melodic hooks. Nice try boys but no cigar I’m afraid. Thankfully the album has one last ace to play in the shape of the closing track ‘Mississippi’. This is another restrained ballad, similar to that which ‘Hopeless’ attempted at the album’s centre point. However, this time the band have the courage to follow through; the track contains no rousing, uplifting chorus. Instead the Monahan remains depressed, and impressively conveys this emotion beautifully. The dark hints of harmonica, and the bleak little acoustic guitar figure add to the atmosphere. The song builds itself gradually, but resists the urge to head towards any sky scraping climax. Instead the song closes on the same resigned note it began, internal sadness has been celebrated, but ultimately the narrator has gained nothing from the experience. As a pensive closing thought, the track is terrific. It’s so unassuming you have to play it again to check it really did happen and it once again proves that Train do have bags of talent when they choose to display it. This is the true sound of melancholy and is all the more moving for it. So to conclude things. Train are not the new REM, th
                        ere is very little new on offer here at all. For those who loved the title song my advice is to buy the single. It’s only a third of the price of this and is the only real show stopping moment here. Some may well enjoy the unadventurous country rock on offer here, but be fair warned there is little or nothing that is to the same standard or even partly resembles ‘Drops of Jupiter’ during the other ten tracks. Elsewhere, ‘Something More’ and ‘Mississippi’ are worth a listen but three tracks does not an album make. The odd hint of something better aside, Train disappoint here, massively.

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                      • Product Details

                        Disc #1 Tracklisting
                        1 She's On Fire
                        2 I wish You Would
                        3 Drops Of Jupiter
                        4 It's About You
                        5 Hopeless
                        6 Respect
                        7 Let It Roll
                        8 Something More
                        9 Whipping Boy
                        10 Getaway
                        11 Mississippi